A UK population-based study of the relationship between mental disorder and victimisation

Christina Hart*, Renée De Vet, Paul Moran, Stephani L. Hatch, Kimberlie Dean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To establish the prevalence of victimisation in a UK population-based sample and to investigate the association between mental disorder and victimisation in both cross-sectional and prospective manner, whilst adjusting for potential confounds. Methods: Data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) were used to examine criminal victimisation, violent victimisation, and mental disorder at age 46 yerars, and also to measure history of mental disorder, when cohort members were aged 23, 33 and 42 years. Variables considered to be potential confounders or mediators of the association, including socio-economic status, family income, financial strain, education, housing ownership status, heavy drinking and gender, all measured at age 46 years, were considered in multivariate analyses. Results: The prevalence of criminal victimisation amongst cohort members in the 12 months preceding interview was 15%; 2.2% of the participants reported experiencing violent victimisation in the past year. Mental disorder at age 46 was significantly associated with criminal and violent victimisation, even after adjusting for potential confounds. A prior history of mental disorder was found to be a robust predictor of criminal and violent victimisation. Conclusion:s: This study provides evidence that those with a mental disorder are at elevated risk of victimisation, including violent victimisation. That such an association might reflect an underlying causal relationship is further supported by the confirmation that the association holds true when mental disorder is measured well before the assessment of victimisation risk, and that it persists despite adjustment for a number of potential confounding factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1590
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Cross-sectional
  • Epidemiology
  • Mental disorder
  • Prospective
  • Victimisation

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